I logged my activities at 15-minute intervals for the whole year

Last modified on January 04, 2021

At spherical this time final twelve months, I was being flooded with numerous articles on smooth twelve months's resolutions and yearly summaries - as is allowed in early January. I was seeking to decide whether or not or no longer there would possibly perhaps be one thing I hoped to change in my existence. One in each of the large elements on my 'roadmap to altering trusty into an even bigger human' google doc (each particular person has one, right?) was once being additional aware of what happens with my time (what abolish I make the most of it on? am I decided I'm making most of it?). This sounded love an actionable smooth twelve months's decision, so I decided to current it a attempt. Nonetheless, I are inclined to accumulate a cramped intense every and from time to time and so I style of logged all my actions at 15-minute intervals for the full twelve months.

You probably did what!?

I logged my actions at 15-minute intervals for the full twelve months.

Here, attempt this screenshot from my google sheet (btw, the spreadsheet title is simply "Existence"):

A screenshot of a google sheet I used to track my data with different activities coloured differently

Why would you abolish this!?

I wished to set what happens with my time. I knew I was spending moderately barely a number of it on social media, nonetheless I wasn't decided how grand precisely. I additionally knew I was working moderately hundreds and wished to quantify precisely how grand (spoiler alert: no longer that grand). I hoped that conserving music of what I abolish would attend me to establish chunks of time that had been being wasted and to show them into good time.

It was once additionally a purely scientific curiosity - there had been many a lot much less basic questions that I was outlandish to earn options to: abolish I purchase a lot much less sleep whereas at uni? How grand time abolish I make the most of with of us vs on my possess? What are the outcomes of ingesting alcohol? and hundreds others.

Ample, decided, regardless of. How grand effort did this buy?

Not that grand the reality is!

When I began, I was totally gazing for to accumulate tired of the full element and finish after per likelihood a month or so. Surprisingly, logging what I abolish grew to vary into out to be barely easy. As that you just simply would possibly perhaps need seen, I purchase barely inviting on recordsdata so seeing my spreadsheet getting greater and additional vibrant was once ample of an incentive to attend me going. Within the few instances, when I got here shut to stopping, a stable FOMD (alarm of missing recordsdata) would constantly purchase me abet on it.


I abolish no longer care, I should set the ideas.

  • I decided to log my actions in 15-minute intervals - I wished to be able to take shorter actions (severely procrastination) nonetheless didn't need it to be too crazy (although I might need misplaced the trusty to guage what's crazy when I began the full mission)
  • I was utilizing google sheets to log my recordsdata. I cherished them on delusion of are on-line by default allowing me to log my recordsdata each on my pc and my cellphone, the slip-to-copy cell screech materials function makes it easy to log longer actions and the conditional formatting makes the spreadsheet efficient and vibrant providing quick gratification. That that you just simply would possibly perhaps effectively purchase admission to my template right here.
  • I divided my actions into succesful classes to fabricate noting them down easier. Some classes had been divided additional into subcategories.
    For me, the classes had been:
    • sleeping:
    • focused work - what I the reality is perceive as productiveness:
      • uni - school (until June) and PhD (since October)
      • self-explain - job features, nonetheless additionally engaged on my inside most initiatives (love writing code to analyse my recordsdata, or finding out to process)
      • admin - answering emails, filling varieties and so forth (btw filling my time monitoring spreadsheet was once on this class)
      • organising - points love organising occasions for a society, conferences and a amount of extracurricular points
      • German - to hint language finding out
    • low-focal stage work - an identical subcategories as in focused work. Low-focal stage work included actions that had been additional mechanical and didn't require too grand thoughts vitality. As an illustration, admin or organising my notes might be low-focal stage, whereas finding out papers or writing essays might be focused work.
    • socialising
    • tradition (with subcategories: books, motion pictures, documentaries, TV shows, and a amount of)
    • human function - the dreary stuff I should abolish to stay alive (showering, making meals, consuming and points love that. On journeys additionally environment tents and so forth)
    • a amount of good time - points that did no longer the reality is match into the a amount of classes. Subcategories: blogs, podcasts, information, video video games, YouTube, chilling (for the cases when I wished to simply lie down or peep at the wall), and a amount of)
    • travelling - time spent in buses/automobiles/planes and so forth
    • exercising - deliberate train - working, biking, train routines
    • exercising (lower depth) - principally strolling/gradual biking, nonetheless additionally stretching
    • procrastinating - principally social media
    • slothful - ready in queues and so forth

The ideas

Alright, so now that I confidently managed to aloof you down, let's use the ideas I the reality is need to reply to some questions:

What did I abolish in 2020?

A calendar showing how much time in total I spent on different activities

Looks my excessive three actions of the twelve months are sleeping (7h 45min on frequent per day and I'm very joyful with this), working (6h 20 min on frequent per day) and socialising (3h 25 min on frequent per day). It's miles principally what I'd ask with the exception of that it constantly scares me how grand time we the reality is use unconscious. I can not decide whether or not or no longer 1h 20 min spent on human function (consuming and showering and so forth) is hundreds or no longer (a process again of a tiny sample dimension, I stutter). On one hand, I might probably use that point to abolish additional enjoyable points nonetheless on the a amount of hand per likelihood I should silent simply chill out.
The procrastination time (on frequent 10 minutes per day) is little question decrease than it the reality is is - I would possibly discuss additional about it in the productiveness piece under.

One extra chilly function of the system wherein I was logging my recordsdata was once that I might log a pair of train trusty right into a single time slot (strolling and paying attention to a podcast is a basic). This implies that the full time spent on all actions sums as much as additional than 365 days - that you just simply would possibly perhaps look this as 'additional days' on the command above. Looks that this twelve months, I had 395 surplus hours or 16.5 surplus days. I hope I didn't use them on human function.

Plenty of of the classes from the command above had been divided into additional gracious subcategories:

A calendar showing how much time I spent on different subcategories within focused work
A calendar showing how much time I spent on different subcategories within low-focus work

By far, most of my work was once towards uni and PhD - 51 days in whole. After as adversarial to the time from June to September, when I had holidays, this affords spherical 5hrs of labor per day. While this entails weekends, this may not appear love hundreds, severely that weekends at the moment are not the reality is neatly revered at uni.

Discovering out how cramped focused work I abolish, even on the occasions that the reality is really feel productive, was once conception to be considered one of the basic excellent surprises of analysing my recordsdata. It appears to be like {that a} approved working day (9-17) would in whole excellent give spherical 5-6 hours of correct work, whereas the the rest of time would dissolve on low-focal stage work, chatting to of us, espresso breaks and a amount of cramped distractions. While there had been days when I'd attain Eight hours of focused work (for focused uni work I had 32 such days this twelve months), they required both spending the full day (9-22) working or a lot of effort to stay focused. Both had been barely tiring and unsustainable in the lengthy urge. I stutter the lesson right here is that in relation to focused work, the 8-hour working day is an unimaginable function and will no longer be feeble as a benchmark.

I additionally abolish barely a number of admin - almost half of of the full time I make the most of on tradition. Here's barely unhappy and a doable motion stage for the lengthy urge.

A calendar showing how much time I spent on different subcategories within culture

I spent a interesting amount of time finding out books - almost 1.5h per day on frequent! I'm barely satisfied with this since here is a habits I consciously labored to blueprint this twelve months. At some stage on this time, I the reality is receive learn 35 books (12,715 pages per Goodreads

). Whilst you want to receive some concepts, my excessive three might be: A Gentleman in Moscow, The Locations in Between, and Cramped Fires In every single residence. On the a amount of hand, I can not the reality is earn motion pictures or TV shows that I'd the reality is purchase into, so if that you just simply would possibly perhaps need any that you just identical to, let me know! Also a bonus: the 'documentaries' are in reality simply Louis Theroux and I abolish no longer be apologetic a number of single minute.

A calendar showing how much time I spent on different subcategories within quality time

How did the time spent on a amount of actions change over the months?

A stacked plot showing how the average daily hours spent on different activities changed throughout the months

As above, the hours sum to additional than 24 because of logging two actions in a single time slot if I was doing them concurrently.

That that you just simply would possibly perhaps effectively barely clearly establish the 'onerous lockdown' cases - April+Would presumably effectively additionally and November. In each courses, there would possibly perhaps be a noticeable carry in working hours, discount in socialising and carry in tradition. Within the spring I was ending my Grasp's thesis and revising for my assessments so I'd ask the rise in productiveness regardless of lockdown. Nonetheless, seeing the equal sample in November (after we had been downhearted from coming to residence of economic) appears to be like to signifies that I'm the reality is working additional when working from dwelling. Here's probably due to the each fewer distractions nonetheless additionally to the dearth of alternatives. Assuredly, I'd in whole finish working to satisfy friends. At some stage in the lockdown, when here is no longer an alternative, I in whole simply proceed working.

I'd love to speak with reference to the full a amount of classes, nonetheless the submit is getting barely extended in order that that you just simply would possibly perhaps discover them right here (however each different bonus: set for my binge of having fun with Zoo Planet):

Hacking my monkey thoughts to elongate productiveness

As I was analysing at my recordsdata all twelve months lengthy, I was barely disillusioned in how cramped I labored and was once shopping for for the system wherein to elongate it.
Inspired by this submit I decided to gamify my productiveness by giving myself elements for actions I wished to abolish additional of.
I hoped that they'd act as sources of instantenous pleasure for my monkey thoughts (which needs enjoyable now and wouldn't the reality is care about future me) to fabricate it abolish points which might be a lot much less enjoyable nonetheless valuable in the lengthy urge.
Provided that I already had recordsdata on my actions at some stage of the day, assigning elements was once barely easy.

I'd purchase:

  • four elements per hour for the absolute best actions (focused work towards uni & self-explain and exercising)
  • three elements for finding out books
  • 2 elements for finding out blogs, paying attention to podcasts, lower depth work and so forth
  • zero elements for points which might be

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